Journaling in monochrome

Hello all, it’s EmK again, and I’m here to talk to you about using color! I know that you’re probably not surprised that I’m talking to you about color this season, but hopefully I can help you surprise yourself with the beauty that you’ll produce in your journal this week! I like using loud, vibrant colors in my journal spreads; but as artists, we all have a certain special love affair with certain types of colors. It is the gift of many artists alike! However, I propose to you to try using color in a way that may be a little out of your comfort zone: by using only one!

When an artist uses only black and white, the art produced is considered to be grayscale—but when an artist introduces a single color into the mix, the ar then becomes monochromatic. In this tutorial, I invite you to pick a single color with which you will use to create an entire journal page! In the following video, I have chosen my favorite color (green) and created an entire two page spread featuring acrylic paint in a multitude of shades, tints and tones.

Not comfortable with the difference between shades, tints, and tones? No problem! Here’s the quick rundown…
Shade: One color with black added to reduce brightness of said color.
Tint: One color with white added to reduce saturation of said color.
Tone: One color with with gray added to reduce both brightness and saturation, often considered a more sophisticated version of the original said color.

There will be visual examples of this within the video!


To create with me during the process, you will need the items listed below:

  • Your art journal
  • One Color of Paint (Highly Saturated)
  • Black Paint
  • White Paint
  • One Medium Sized Paint Mixing Space, i.e. Palette, Bowl, Plate, etc.
  • Paint Brushes

The following supplies are optional, but I will be using them in the video!

  • Palette Knife
  • Collage Material in Grayscale
  • Black and White Pens
  • Black and Gray Markers
  • Silver Paint

I also want to let you know that creating a monochromatic journal page or piece of art does not need to be done with acrylic paint! If you are more comfortable using markers, watercolors, or even collage, please be true to your inner artist and feel free to create a monochromatic journal spread using your preferred style and medium of creating! Hopefully you’re inspired to go out there and try something new! Don’t forget to use #getmessyartjournal when you share your monochromatic art journal spreads. I love chatting with you all, so feel free to comment below!!


EmK Wright is a self taught artist with a passion for creating. She finds her true love in between the pages of her art journals, where she has been expressing herself for about 13 years. 


  1. Katie Smith

    I’ll definitely be creating a monochromatic page this week! 🙂

  2. CIndy Jacobs

    I love this tutorial!! Can’t wait to try it!! I think you’ve convinced me to work in a little bigger medium here. An interesting by-product to the monochromatic thing. Also,,..I adore your commentary!!

  3. Clare Davis Etheridge

    I love all of it especially your voice as you talk us through, you are always full of enthusiasm and great tips and tricks. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and inspiring us to go and create. Now I have to decide on a colour?!

  4. Misty Granade

    I love doing monochromes!!

  5. Sasha Zinevych

    I always love your idea and how simple and understandable your explanations are! Definitely giving it a try! Thank you! 🙂

  6. tal shahar

    Love this tutorial! Will challenge myself to do one today as I’m usually doing all the colors in the rainbow at once. should be interesting. Thank you so much for the inspiration and great vibes.

  7. Elizabeth D.

    I love your videos — you have such a talent for sharing knowledge!